I got a message from a writer for Good Reads, the social site about books, about a month ago, asking me to come up with a question for Michael Pollan. Good Reads was doing an interview with him including reader-submitted questions to coincide with his new book coming out—Cooked is the name of it. I was selected because I’d given five stars to one of Pollan’s previous books. The question didn’t have to be about the new book—just whatever we wanted to ask.
I was happy to do so. And perhaps it came out too long, but I thought it was an important question. Here’s what I sent back:
Here’s my question for Michael Pollan:
I want to first thank you, as your writing significantly influenced my career path: When I was trying to figure out how I could continue my career as a journalist if I followed my desire to move back to my rural home place, your writing showed that there was important journalism to be done in and about rural places. I am now editor of a regional magazine about rural issues.
My question: What do you think about USDA Secretary Vilsack’s recent comments about the decreasing relevance of rural places in the national conversation ( http://www.dailyyonder.com/secretary-…)? Our food supply is of course still coming from rural places, and I think (in part thanks to your books) we are now talking about where our food comes from more, but apparently there is still a disconnect somewhere.
I watched for the interview when it was published—and of course, my questions wasn’t included. I can see why. It didn’t fit, really, in all the cooking and diet talk.
But I can’t help but feel a little put out that even in this context, rural wasn’t relevant.
I will try to look at the upside: Those of us working for the revitalization of rural places apparently have job security. We’re going to be at this for a while.